The Mean Wind and Potential Temperature Flux Profiles in Convective Boundary Layers

Luoqin Liu*, Srinidhi N. Gadde, Richard J.A.M. Stevens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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We develop innovative analytical expressions for the mean wind and potential temperature flux profiles in convective boundary layers (CBLs). CBLs are frequently observed during daytime as Earth’s surface is warmed by solar radiation. Therefore, their modeling is relevant for weather forecasting, climate modeling, and wind energy applications. For CBLs in the convective-roll-dominated regime, the mean velocity and potential temperature in the bulk region of the mixed layer are approximately uniform. We propose an analytical expression for the normalized potential temperature flux profile as a function of height, using a perturbation method approach in which we employ the horizontally homogeneous and quasi-stationary characteristics of the surface and inversion layers. The velocity profile in the mixed layer and the entrainment zone is constructed based on insights obtained from the proposed potential temperature flux profile and the convective logarithmic friction law. Combining this with the well-known Monin–Obukhov similarity theory allows us to capture the velocity profile over the entire boundary layer height. The proposed profiles agree excellently with large-eddy simulation results over the range of 2L/z0 2 [3.6 3 102, 0.7 3 105], where L is the Obukhov length and z0 is the roughness length.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1893-1903
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the atmospheric sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2023


  • Atmosphere
  • Boundary layer
  • Convective parameterization
  • Idealized models
  • Large eddy simulations
  • NLA


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